Category Archives: TIDBITS OF ETHICS

The NY Court Appeals revisits the champerty doctrine

Last year the New York Court of Appeals held that a purchase by an off-shore shell company of notes that were in default when the payment of the purchase price was contingent on recovery by the shell company violated the … Read More

Unauthorized practice of law – A recent decision of the SC Supreme Court

The SC Supreme Court, on February 22, 2017, found that a group managing HOAs (Community Management Group, “CMG”) committed unauthorized practice of law by representing associations in magistrates court, filing judgments in circuit court, preparing and recording liens, and (4) … Read More

Self-Assessment Checklists May Help Lawyers in Risk Management

The practice of law is laden with risk.    Ok … yes … we all know that.   The difficult problem that lawyers face is what they can do to reduce risk without devoting so much time to risk management that it … Read More

When does blogging constitute advertising?

In Formal Opinion 2016-196, the California State Bar Ethics Committee dealt with the question of when a blog by a lawyer is subject to the ethics rules on advertising.  If a blog is integrated into a lawyer’s website, it will … Read More

Is a certificate of merit always necessary when you sue a law firm?

As it well know, in the vast majority jurisdictions, when you sue a professional (lawyers, doctors and others) in negligence, a certificate a merit issued by a professional of the same profession is necessary as a condition to bring the … Read More

How ethical is participating in fixed-fee referral services like Avvo in light of SC, Ohio, and Pennsylvania ethics opinions

In Ethics Advisory Opinion 16-06, the SC Ethics Advisory Committee opined that lawyers cannot ethically participate into fixed-fee legal referral services like Avvo. The Committee had been asked to opine on whether an arrangement in which an attorney participates in … Read More

Avvo model rejected in three jurisdictions

PA joins SC and OH in finding that lawyer participation in Avvo fixed fee referral program is unethical. Links to ethics opinions. South Carolina:  http://www.scbar.org/Bar-Members/Ethics-Advisory-Opinions/Opinion-View/ArticleId/2455/Ethics-Advisory-Opinion-16-06 Ohio: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Boards/BOC/Advisory_Opinions/2016/Op_16-003.pdf Pennsylvania: http://www.bna.com/third-ethics-panel-n57982078096/ For more information, Nathan M. Crystal  

The non adversity of the Anders Brief …

If counsel on appeal on criminal cases consider the appeal frivolous, they must file a brief indicating anything in the record that might arguably support an appeal (Anders v California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967)), or they cannot withdraw. It is … Read More

The privilege waiver effect of voluntary disclosures to the Government after CISA

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) in broad terms allows companies to monitor and cyberthreats. In particular, under CISA companies can share with DHS Cybersecurity threat indicator (CTI) and Defensive measures (DM). More on CISA here. CISA is … Read More

A rose by any other name is . . . a partner? Non-equity partners formally approved by North Carolina Bar

It used to be the case that lawyers practiced either as solo practitioners or in partnership.   Over the years the organizational forms for lawyers have changed dramatically for tax, liability, and economic reasons. Lawyers now have the option to choose … Read More